Events expecting more than 50 people are now restricted.
This decision was announced on Saturday morning by the Premier Easton Taylor-Farrell. He stated that “the Cabinet became aware on Friday, March 13th, that a passenger on BA2157 flight on Tuesday, March 10th, from United Kingdom to Antigua has tested positive for COVID-19 virus. Over 80 Montserrat-bound passengers had traveled on the said flight, and are now on island.
“The Health Authorities supported by the Integrated Border Security Unit and the Royal Montserrat Police Service have taken swift action, to trace and contact those passengers. The passengers contacted were given professional advice to self-isolate, along with the other members of their household.
“In light of the significant health-risk posed, the National Advisory Council met to discuss the implications for Montserrat. Given the evolving public health security issues identified, Cabinet has taken the decision to immediately place a restriction on gatherings in excess of 50 persons. This restriction will be in place until Friday, April 3, 2020, and may need to be extended.
“Additionally, Cabinet has advised that all schools will be closed from Monday, March 16 to April 3, 2020 and that care be exercised, when contemplating visiting the elderly at the Care Facilities,” the statement read.
The restriction will affect the final weekend of activities for the festival, most of which are the title events such as the Gold Rush, Emerald City Fest, Stratify, the morning jouverts, and the signature event the Slave Feast on March 17. No confirmation has been made on which events are being cancelled or postponed. The government has not officially cancelled the rest of the festival.
Other activities which are included in the restriction are church gatherings, fundraisers, etc.
“Cabinet recognizes the upset and inconvenience that this measure will cause to both residents and visitors. In making the determination to restrict gatherings, the health and safety of the citizens and residents of Montserrat were assessed, as paramount. The public health measures to prevent, detect, manage and contain any potential outbreak of COVID-19 in Montserrat will be kept under review, and the public updated accordingly,” the release stated.
COVID 19 STATEMENT BY PREMIER JOSEPH FARRELL FOLLOWING CONFIRMED CASE IN ANTIGUA & BARBUDA
Issued: March 13, 2020
As we are all aware by now, the Government of Antigua and Barbuda announced its first confirmed case of COVID-19. The confirmed case is a person who traveled on a British Airways flight on March 10th and is currently under isolation in Antigua. Health authorities in Antigua are tracing the patient’s contacts.
Following the recent announcement by the Antigua and Barbuda government, Montserrat’s Ministry of Health and Social Services, in collaboration with Integrated Border Security, are reviewing visitors who have been on the same flight as the confirmed case in Antigua. Such contact tracing is a normal part of the Health Team’s response.
Although Montserrat has no confirmed cases of COVID-19 to date, my Minister of Health, Chief Medical Officer and the entire Health Team have been working tirelessly to prevent, detect, manage and contain any potential outbreak in Montserrat as a matter of public health emergency.
We understand that people are concerned, but we are making sure that the right steps are being taken to try to prevent and minimize the impact of the virus.
As Premier and Minister of Finance, I am keenly aware that Montserrat’s national security and economic prosperity require meaningful investment in public health security. So on my direction, the Government is deploying the full range of resources at our disposal to prevent an outbreak of the virus in Montserrat.
The Ministry of Health and Social Services has been working closely with the necessary agents to protect Montserrat’s shores. We would have increased surveillance and ramped up our port health obligations which involve screening persons at both the airport and seaport, as well as scrutinizing cruise ships before and during their visit. The Ministry would have also activated their pandemic influenza plan, identified isolation and quarantine facilities, and trained staff to deal with the arrival of cases.
I would like to remind persons who have visited affected countries and subsequently developed symptoms of the coronavirus that they should stay at home and contact the Casualty Department at the Glendon Hospital on 491 2802 or 491 2836.
The public can rest assured that the Ministry of Health and the whole of Government are focused on maximum transparency and ensuring that all necessary information available, particularly that of medical experts and professionals of the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), the World Health Organisation (WHO), Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), Public Health England, CARICOM and the OECS is being utilized to the benefit of Montserrat.
We will continue to update the public as more information becomes available regarding the situation in Antigua and our own contact tracing.
Let me close by saying that as with all outbreaks, this global pandemic will end. In the meantime, I am pleading with everyone to take personal responsibility in trying to minimize the risk of exposure by taking these simple precautions:
1. Wash your hands frequently with soap and water or use an alcohol-based sanitizing gel.
2. When coughing or sneezing, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your flexed elbow; dispose of the tissue immediately and wash your hands.
3. Avoid close contact with anyone who has coughing and fever
4. And practice social distancing
Remember, those who are most at risk are the elderly and those with pre-existing conditions, such as hypertension, heart disease and diabetes. I would like all residents to remember three things – Be aware, use only reliable sources, be prepared, and Act.
This virus is transmitted through close contact with infected persons or touching contaminated objects or surfaces.
I will continue to update the public as the situation evolves.
VISITS PROHIBITED AT THE HOSPITAL AND SENIOR CITIZENS HOMES
Issued: March 14, 2020
In an effort to protect the most vulnerable in the community, the Ministry of Health and Social Services has taken a decision to restrict visits at the Glendon Hospital, the Margetson Memorial Home, Golden Years Home and the Look Out Warden Support Unit.
With immediate effect, no visits will be allowed at these facilities. This restriction will remain in place until further notice.
Relatives are asked to call the Hospital on 491-2552, Golden Years Home on 491-7561 or 491-7255 and the Look Out Warden Support Unit on 496-4633 or 491-9905 for updates on your family members.
Should the need arise staff will also contact relatives directly.